06/22/2012 1:47PM

Los Alamitos: A tough two weeks for the Ed Burke Futurity


The first seven-figure futurity of 2012 at Los Alamitos – the $1,041,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity – will be run on Sunday after a tumultuous two weeks since the time trials that included the seizure of three qualifiers by federal marshals.

On June 12, the FBI announced a series of arrests throughout the Southwest alleging that two groups of owners – Bonanza Racing and Tremor Enterprises – were laundering money through Quarter Horse racing on behalf of the notorious Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel.

Quarter Horses in California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas were seized as part of the raid.

Bonanza and Tremor owned three Ed Burke qualifiers – Mr Ease Cartel, Streak Hitter, and Super Long Straw. Those horses were reportedly taken off the grounds by federal officials after the June 12 arrests.

On June 15, Los Alamitos stewards disqualified the horses from the Ed Burke Futurity for several infractions, including conduct detrimental to horse racing by their owners, and because the horses left the grounds. Horses are not permitted to leave Los Alamitos between the trials and final of major races.

As a result, three horses who were the 11th through 13th fastest qualifiers from the June 10 time trials were added to the Burke field – Freedom Choice, Tres Especial, and Revv Me Up. Revv Me Up won a random shake against Viva La Blue for the final berth since both horses had the same qualifying time in the trials.

After all that, the focus will be on the 350-yard race on Sunday.

Trainers Juan Aleman and Paul Jones each have three starters.

Jones starts High School Secrets, Joy Roses Eagle Sa, and Revv Me Up. Joy Roses Eagle Sa had the fastest qualifying time of those three, 17.69 seconds, by winning a division of the trials for her first victory in three starts.

Aleman will run Starlite Delight, Tres Especial, and Watch Linda Ballet. Starlite Delight and Tres Especial overcame trouble to win their trial races. Starlite Delite remained unbeaten after two starts despite being bumped at the start of the trial. She won her division by 1  1/2 lengths in 17.74 seconds.

“She’s impressive every time she wins, even though her times weren’t that fast,” Aleman said.

One of five fillies in the final, Starlite Delite could go favored in the final.

Tres Especial was timed in 17.76 seconds, and would have been an original qualifier with a better start, Aleman said.

“If she hadn’t gotten sandwiched at the start, she would have qualified without being let in,” Aleman said. “She ran her heart out that day. I know she’s talented.”

The fastest qualifier is One Dashing Eagle, who was timed in 17.55 seconds.

Trained by Eloy Navarro, One Dashing Eagle was second in his career debut against maidens on April 29. Navarro also trains trial race winner Freedom Choice.

The other starters are trial winner Jess Being Valiant and Fires Blazin, who was second to One Dashing Eagle in the trials.